RADP-S: Responsible for leading the "Value Chain Facilitation Unit" (VCFU) of USAID's Regional Agriculture Development Project for Afghanistan's Southern Region. (2014 - 2015)
AFE's activities include:
- Leading the VCFU in conducting value chains (VC) analyses in the wheat, livestock, and high value crop sectors
- Conducting five-day VC program design workshop for USAID contractors in Afghanistan working in agribusiness and private sector development programs
- Leading the VCFU in identifying and soliciting initiatives from VC Lead Firms (LFs).
- Development of an APS procurement document that invites targeted VC LFs to propose initiatives to improve competitiveness and upgrade producers in their VCs
- Carrying out participatory strategic and business planning exercises with LFs to prepare them to implement their initiatives
- Developing "impact logics" that demonstrate how LF initiatives contribute to results.
- Supporting LFs to refine and improve their applications and preparing technical and financial support agreements with the LFs
- Identifying and organizing "cross-company" initiatives (exposure visits, training activities, etc.)
- Developing and implementing monitoring and evaluation systems and checklists
- Supporting private sector market actors to implement agreed-upon initiatives.
Value Chain Program Design in Ghor Province: Led local World Vision teams in conducting a five-week exercise that included a value chain selection exercise and subsequent VC analysis/ program design exercises in the wheat and wool products value chains in Ghor province. Ranked prospective value chains, conducted interviews with market actors and key informants in two targeted VCs, developed value chain maps, identified constraints and potential market-based solutions, and facilitated participatory process with private sector actors to identify program interventions to be included under a USAID Multi-Year Assistance Program. (2009)
Program Design Training and Value Chain Selection/Analysis: AFE provided one-week training to Mercy Corps Afghanistan staff in program design and implementation. AFE then led a value chain selection exercise and conducted initial analyses of prioritized value chains, as part of a USDA-funded program (2007).
Value Chain Program Design for Oxfam Novib in Bangladesh: Led staff from local Oxfam partner organizations in conducting value chain (VC) analyses and program design exercises for sweet gourd (local squash) and animal health products in three regions of Bangladesh (Gaibandha, Sirajganj, and Shariatpur). Activities included ranking prospective VCs, conducting interviews with market actors, developing VC maps, identifying constraints and potential market-based solutions, and facilitating a participatory process with private sector actors to identify initiatives to expand their commercial relationships with poor farmers. (2014)
Katalyst Project - Design, Training and Advisory Services: Beginning in 2003 AFE provided technical assistance to Katalyst - a five-year, multi-donor funded enterprise development program. This assistance has included: 1) guidance to the Katalyst team on how to incorporate value chain development and market development approaches into their activities; 2) training workshops for program staff and partner organizations; 3) value chain analysis and program design in the plastics, health care, agribusiness, and knitwear sectors; 4) leadership on the project export promotion component and establishment of contract farming pilot programs with major agribusiness companies; 5) ongoing technical assistance and field support to the project staff; and 6) review of program activities to support the household wood furniture value chain. (2003 - 2008)
Katalyst Project - Implementation of Long Term Projects: The objective of AFE's multi-year programs funded by Katalyst in Bangladesh (over $2.5 million to date) have been to foster pro-poor economic growth by working with the private sector to improve the competitiveness of value chains with high growth potential in terms of jobs, productivity, and profitability. Secondary objectives included increasing economic opportunities for women and other vulnerable populations, and increasing food security through improving availability of food through increased production and access to food through increased earning power.
AFE's programs have targeted the agribusiness (potatoes, vegetable seed, chilies, groundnuts, etc.) and craft for export sectors. AFE conducted ten training workshops in private sector development in Bangladesh for over 200 development professionals. AFE also conducted extensive monitoring and evaluation activities, including applying the Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (DCED) Standard for Results Measurement. (2008 - 2013)
The following are illustrative program activities conducted by AFE in the Craft Export Sector:
- Training of new producers - AFE built the capacity of four craft export companies to develop standardized training modules, and to train over 4,000 new producers who were able to increase earning 250 USD per year on average.
- Upgrading of existing producers - AFE worked with craft export companies to increase the skills of more than 4,500 of their existing producers so that they could produce more demanding products for the international market. These upgraded producers increased sales by 16% on average.
- "Buyer-seller meets" - AFE supported craft exporters to meet 31 international buyers initially identified at trade fairs. Through these company-specific meetings the craft exporters increased sales by 18%, generating more than 550,000 USD.
- New product development - AFE supported craft export companies to identify international design consultants to assist companies with their design portfolio and trade fair booth presentations.
- Trade show participation - AFE assisted craft export companies to prepare for and participate in international trade shows. Participating companies increased sales by 10% and generated more than 500,000 USD in orders.
- Exposure visits - AFE led several exposure visits to Vietnam and China for craft export companies to identify new sources of tools and machinery and to observe more advanced production and outsourcing practices.
- Training of trainers - AFE built the capacity of company staff to provide quality training to producers they source from.
The following are illustrative program activities conducted by AFE in the Agribusiness Sector:
- Developing Outgrowing Operations - AFE supported four agribusiness companies to develop outgrowing operations with more than 5,000 farmers. The companies supported the farmers with training, inputs, new varieties, technical support and market access.
- Strategic Plans - AFE facilitated efforts of three potato processing companies to develop strategic plans for their potato outgrowing (contract farming) operations through a participatory process. These companies have purchased more than 10,000 MT of processing potatoes from more than 1,000 outgrowers.
- Exposure to International Technical Conferences - AFE supported agribusiness companies to attend international conferences that exposed them to new technologies, suppliers, and technical consultants resulting in the introduction of new machinery and technologies into their operations.
- Training of Company Staff - AFE provided expert training to agribusiness staff in marketing tools and approaches.
- Expansion and improvement of distribution systems - AFE facilitated the development of new distribution networks to provide high quality seed on a commercial basis to poor households and marginal farmers.
- Exposure Visits - AFE led several exposure visits to India and China for agribusiness processing companies, to identify new sources of tools and machinery and to observe more advanced production and outsourcing practices.
- Training of trainers - AFE built the capacity of company staff to provide quality training to producers they source from.
The following are illustrative program activities conducted by AFE in the Agricultural Seed Sector:
- Business plan development - AFE used a participatory process to support vegetable seed companies to develop business plans to launch new products, including commercially viable vegetable seed "mini-packets" for sale to small holder farmers in remote areas.
- Introducing new varieties - AFE facilitated three potato companies to introduce new varieties to farmers by linking them with international suppliers, supporting multi-locational trials, demonstration plots, awareness and lobbying activities. AFE also worked with seed companies to develop and maintain new varieties of high yielding open pollinated and hybrid vegetable seeds.
- Policy/advocacy - AFE supported jute seed importers to lobby the government for a reform of the quota system which limits jute seed imports from India. The goal of this policy reform is to make lower cost, higher quality jute seed available to jute farmers.
- Increasing information exchanges - AFE supported the development of a seed potato multiplication network to facilitate the exchange of technical information related to seed potato multiplication.
- Training Breeders - AFE built the technical capacity of vegetable seed breeders and tissue culture technicians through technical trainings.
- Trade Association Development - AFE supported the consolidation of nine different seed associations into a single entity which represents the interests of all market actors in the Bangladesh seed sector and is recognized by the government.
* To date, AFE's seed sector activities have benefitted more than 400,000 households throughout Bangladesh.
DEVELOPMENT OF SEED "MINI-PACKETS"
At prices between 10 to 25 US cents vegetable seed mini-packets generated great demand and sales exceeded all expectations. During the first agricultural season of sales two companies (with AFE technical and cost share support) sold more than 480,000 mini-packets to over 160,000 producers. During the subsequent season the companies sold an additional 1.5 million packets to more than 400,000 producers - 90% living below the poverty line. Since then several other seed companies have begun to produce and market mini-packets on their own.
Value Chain Selection and Assessments in Khulna Division: AFE conducted a value chain selection exercise in the Sarankhola Upazila of Bagerhat District, under Khulna Division on behalf of a large USAID development project designed to reduce food insecurity. The selection exercise identified the three highest potential value chains from an initial short list of 20 potential value chains. In addition, AFE also carried out an analysis of the honey value chain and a full program design for the craft value chain in Sarankhola, Batiaghata (under Khulna District), and Lohagara (under Narail District). (2011)
Market Development for Disaster Risk Reduction: AFE received a short term contract from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation to study how value chain/market development principles can be effectively integrated into disaster risk reduction programs in Bangladesh. AFE is studied five value chains in disaster prone areas in two parts of the country. The results were published in 2013.
Value Chain Program Design for PROSHAR Project Bangladesh: In March-April 2011, AFE conducted a value chain analysis for the woven crafts value chain for the PROSHAR project (ACDI-VOCA, USAID). This value chain analysis involved identifying and interviewing relevant market actors from all levels of the crafts value chain, both within and outside of the target upazilas, in order to identify market trends, inter-firm relationships, supply channels, constraints and opportunities, especially with regard to export markets. AFE also conducted an agribusiness value chain selection exercise for the project in the Khulna Division that looked at 12 promising value chains and ultimately selected the rice, grass pea and prawn sectors for more in-depth program design. (2011)
Value Chain Assessment of Selected Healthcare Products: AFE led a team to assess the commercial private sector's role in the manufacturing, distribution, and retailing of selected healthcare products in Bangladesh. These products included contraceptives (oral pills and condoms), oral re-hydration solutions, Vitamin A, and Zinc. The findings of this study provided insight into the depth and scope of the commercial private sector in the healthcare products sector of Bangladesh. (2006)
Program Review and Strategic Planning Support to CARE Bangladesh: AFE conducted a review of CARE Bangladesh programs and structures in order to determine how "market oriented approaches" could be further integrated into their operations and programming (June 2005). This was followed by a review of the Rural Livelihoods Project as well contributions to the elaboration of CARE Bangladesh's Long Range Strategic Plan (economic development section). (2006)
Tourism-Related Value Chains Program Design: AFE led and provided expert technical assistance to a program design initiative in support of a pro-poor program in Paro District with the aim of better integrating the local population into tourism-related value chains. Under AFE's guidance, the Program Design Team worked through the following steps to program design: i) value chain selection, ii) analysis of value chains (including the identification of industry constraints), iii) identification of possible solutions to address constraints to sector development, iv) assessment of priority, market-oriented solutions that address value chain constraints, and v) participatory methods to identify potential project interventions which support the implementation of solutions to value chain constraints. (2009)
Development of Mandarin Value Chain – AFE facilitated a three-day workshop with regional and national level stakeholders in the mandarin value chain to review constraints, identify business solutions, and propose appropriate interventions. AFE also completed a one-day workshop to facilitate the selection of commodities for further analysis in south eastern Bhutan. (2002)
Value Chain Analyses: AFE led two teams to conduct value chain analysis and program design in the poultry and organic agriculture sectors. This work was part of start-up activities for a $6 million USAID funded economic development project. Results included a comprehensive analysis of market trends, market actors, governance structures, inter-firm cooperation, constraints, solutions, and proposed project interventions. (2004 - 2005)
Value Chain Selection and Program Design AFE also led a team in northeast India to conduct a value chain selection and analysis in the poultry, spices and handloom textiles sectors. This work was part of a Cross-Border activity funded by CARITAS Denmark to design a value chain program focused on value chains that affect northeast India and Myanmar. (2013)
Banana and Corn Value Chain Program Design: AFE worked with CARITAS Australia and their local partner (KMSS) to conduct a value chain (VC) program design activity in the corn (Myitkyina region) and banana (Maubin Township) sectors in Myanmar. Activities included an orientation into the methodology for KMSS, interviews with key market actors, identification of market-based solutions, focus group discussions with the private sector, and the development of an "Invitation for Application" designed to solicit initiatives from "Inclusive Businesses" in the value chains. Recommendations for next steps were also presented. (2013)
Value Chain Selection and Program Design: AFE led a team to conduct a value chain selection and analysis in the beans and pulses, pigs and piglets and fresh fruits and vegetables sectors in Myanmar. This work was part of a Cross-Border activity funded by CARITAS Denmark to design a value chain program focused on value chains that affect northeast India and Myanmar. (2013)
SABAL Market Systems Unit: - In July 2015 AFE began implementing a five-year $1.5 million program as a sub-grantee (with Save the Children) under the Sustainable Action for Resilience and Food Security (Sabal) project in Nepal. The goal of this project is to improve food and economic security for low income producers in eastern and central Nepal. AFE is leading the project's "Market System Unit." The role of this Unit is to promote facilitation activities in Sabal targeted districts that will result in increased competitiveness of market actors and improved/ expanded products, services, support and market access for small-scale agricultural and livestock producers. To date AFE has conducted assessments of the support markets for agricultural, animal health, and livestock inputs, developed operational guidelines for working with Lead Firms (LFs), developed an "Invitation for Application" to invite LFs to propose their initiatives, conducted pre-application meetings with LFs in three regions and fielded more than twenty applications from LFs to participate in the program. AFE staff are currently conducting strategic planning exercises with LFs to support them in the planning and implementation of their proposed initiatives that will result in sustainable economic relationships and impact for targeted small-scale farmers and producers. (2015-present)
Tourism-Related Value Chains Program Design: AFE led and provided expert technical assistance to a program design in support of the Great Himalaya Trail Development Programme in West Nepal for tourism-related value chains in Humla and Dolpa Districts with the aim of linking formal and informal enterprises to tourism markets to reduce poverty. Under AFE's guidance, the Program Design Team worked through the following steps to program design: i) selection of value chains, ii) analysis of value chains (including the identification of industry constraints), iii) identification of possible solutions to address constraints to sector development, iv) assessment of priority, market-oriented solutions that address value chain constraints, and v) participatory methods to identify potential project interventions which support the implementation of solutions to value chain constraints. (2009)
Technical Assistance and Training to Promote Non-Timber Forest Products: Provided support to USAID project including: 1) assistance in preparing strategy and work plan for value chain analysis, assessment of business solutions, and identification of project interventions; 2) development of interview guides to facilitate value chain analysis with collectors, traders, processors, and government agencies; 3) focus group meetings to identify key value chain constraints; 4) training of local development organizations on how to promote commercially viable solutions. (2004)
Lebanon Business Linkages Initiative (LBLI): As a consortium member under the USAID FIELD Support LWA project, AFE facilitated the strengthening of relationships between agro-processers and their farmer suppliers. AFE's activities included the facilitation of technical and cost share support to a wide range of agribusiness processors and input supply companies including strategic planning, business plan development, outgrowing operations, exposure visits, farmer training, demonstration and trial plots, quality management and other initiatives to improve their competitiveness and upgrade producers they buy from or sell to. (2009-2011)
AFE successfully supported agribusiness lead firms to:
- Improve the competitiveness of the banana value chain
- Access high end markets for processed olives
- Upgrade the quality and production of pickled vegetables
- Introduce new cucumber, jalapeño, and squash processing varieties
- Introduce new tomato seed processing varieties
- Introduce new technologies to facilitate fruit tree pruning and olive harvesting
- Introduce improved drip irrigation system for potato irrigation
- Promote new market channels for fruit producers
Value Chain Selection and Initial Analysis:: Contracted by World Vision Lebanon to support the initial selection and assessment of targeted value chains in preparation for a new program on micro, small, and medium-scale enterprise (MSME) development. Completed a prioritization and preliminary selection exercise, and conducted initial assessments of the apples and table grapes value chains in Lebanon. (2007)
Value Chain Selection and Program Design: AFE was contracted by Yemen's Small and Micro Enterprises Promotion Service (SMEPS) to conduct a USAID-funded assessment of five agricultural value chains (watermelons, tomatoes, onions, livestock and shipping) and based on this assessment to select one value chain for in-depth assessment and program design. No single value chain emerged as a promising candidate for detailed program design, so instead AFE supported SMEPs to design a program to promote the agriculture input supply market. AFE consultants conducted the consultancy which took place during two, three-week trips. By the end of the mission the AFE team had facilitated the identification of interventions as well as signing of MOUs between SMEPS and two of the principle agricultural input supply companies in the country. Proposed activities were based on assisting the companies to develop and expand the sale and distribution of needed inputs to small-scale farmers in the four targeted governorates in the south of the country. (2010)